Critical HVAC Troubleshooting Steps You Should Know

Posted: 2022-09-01

For the most part, your HVAC system should do its job without you having to worry about it. They’re built tough and work consistently to provide for your heating and cooling needs. Having said that, they are still pieces of technology that require human intervention, especially when they act in unusual ways.

Four Seasons Air Specialists is your complete HVAC company in Hugo MN. We understand heating and cooling systems from the inside out, allowing us to help you get your unit back in shape in no time. Here are some of the easiest yet important troubleshooting steps you would want to take if your air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace is acting weird.

Basic Diagnosis

One of the first things you need to determine is that the system has power. Find the service panel and make sure the circuit breaker to your furnace or air conditioner is not tripped. Your HVAC systems will have their dedicated circuit breaker or fuse (for older electrical systems). Turn the breaker off for the specific unit acting up and wait about ten seconds and turn it back on. If your home is equipped with fuses, switch the main power off. See if there are any blown or burnt fuses and replace them accordingly. Then, check the thermostat for power. If the problem persists, call your trusted HVAC contractor.

Filter Management

One of the least complicated things you can deal with is the proper management of your HVAC system’s filter. It is the component that collects all the dirt, preventing it from getting into your system. But the filter can only take in so much dirt and debris, and therefore requires regular cleaning. You have to determine whether you have a reusable or replaceable filter. Your user’s guide should be able you give you this piece of information.

Smell Detection

If you notice an awful smell coming from your furnace or air conditioner, it's best to act on it as soon as possible. Most of the time, this foul odor is caused by mold, which poses a risk to your health.

Also, check if the unit is leaking. Moisture can turn your home into a breeding ground for mold, so be sure to spot the leaks and seal them off.

A foul smell from your HVAC system can also come from burnt wiring and electrical connections. You may want to call a professional to deal with electrical issues to avoid untoward incidents.

Outdoor Unit Cleaning

If you have a system that has an outdoor unit (like an air conditioner compressor), you can keep its surrounding area clean to avoid complications. Since the unit is positioned outside, it can easily accumulate different kinds of foreign objects, such as leaves, branches, and others. You can help your HVAC system perform better by making sure it is free from anything that can block the airflow. Using a broom should be enough to perform this task.

Dealing with Short-Cycling

Air conditioners and heat pumps need proper airflow to function properly. When the airflow is compromised, your HVAC system will experience short-cycling, causing the unit to shut down before the heating or cooling cycle is completed. Most of the time, cleaning or replacing the filter resolves this problem.

However, if the issue remains, check the evaporator coils, usually found inside the air handler. In some units, the coils are attached to the furnace. If there is ice or frost on the coils, shut the unit off and let it thaw. You can also let the system run with only the fan turned on to make the ice melt faster.

Another possible reason for an HVAC system to short-cycle is a faulty thermostat that does not get the right temperature reading. You will notice that the room does not reach your desired comfort levels or warms or cools too quickly.

Serious HVAC Problems? Ask Four Seasons Air Specialists

These easy troubleshooting steps should help you better understand your HVAC system, and perhaps fix minor issues. But if you are faced with more complex matters like leaking refrigerant or hot and cold spots around your home, give us a call. We are your dependable Forest Lake heating and air conditioning company.